The heavy snowfall that blanketed the Washington area yesterday forced school districts to postpone athletic events at a time when most teams are in the midst of completing their regular season games and preparing for the upcoming playoffs.

There were approximately 170 varsity basketball games scheduled for yesterday, but nearly every one was postponed. Most public school teams in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria will make up their games today; the rest will play on Monday. All Montgomery County public school games were postponed until Monday and Prince George's County schools will play games on Wednesday, and the District is looking at Feb. 21 as a possible make-up date. Other area school districts left the rescheduling decisions up to individual schools.

In some leagues, the postponements will force teams to cram three contests into their schedules next week, with playoff seeds at stake.

"It's going to be an interesting week," said Suitland girls' varsity co-coach Thornton Boone, whose No. 18 Rams will face No. 19 Oxon Hill on Wednesday, Crossland on Thursday and C.H. Flowers on Friday. "Our philosophy is that you don't want to burn out players toward the end of the season. . . . But it's one of those things you have to live with."

Hughes Matches Wootten

Morgan Wootten, who retired as DeMatha's basketball coach three months ago, is about to lose the distinction as the all-time winningest coach in high school history.

Robert Hughes, 74, the coach at Dunbar High in Fort Worth tied Wootten's mark last night when his team routed North Side, 81-39. The victory gave Hughes his 1,274th victory. Hughes will have a chance to surpass Wootten on Tuesday when Dunbar plays its regular season finale against Fort Worth Polytechnic.

The 71-year-old Wootten retired on Nov. 6 after 46 seasons at DeMatha with a record of 1,274-192.

"Maybe I'm not getting caught up in the hoopla because I'm too old. I don't get too excited anymore," said Hughes, who has a career mark of 1,274-248. "If the record doesn't happen this season, I can always do it next season, because I'm not planning on going anywhere."

Hughes has been coaching since 1958 and said he speaks to Wootten at least once a year. His team is 28-1 this season.

"I thought he might catch me," Wootten said. "I guess I'll have to come out of retirement now. But, records are meant to be broken. It is a credit to his longevity."

New Volleyball Rules

A week after the National Federation of State High School Associations announced that its members must implement a major rules change in volleyball by 2005, most area jurisdictions are considering implementing the changes by next fall.

The changes, which would more closely align high school rules with NCAA, USA Volleyball and international rules, include a shift to rally scoring, in which a point is scored on every rally regardless of the serving team. Games would be played to 25 points, with the deciding fifth game played to 15.

Eight of Maryland's nine state volleyball committee members voted over e-mail to implement the changes next fall, according to Jill Masterman, director of the state volleyball committee. The proposed changes will now be submitted to the Board of Control at its April 25 meeting in Ocean City, Masterman said.

"I'd say it's pretty much a done deal," she said. "The prevailing theory seemed to be that high school volleyball needed to make that change to coincide with the changes at every other level of the sport."

Washington Catholic Athletic Conference athletic directors have already voted to follow the national Federation rules next season. The Independent School League used rally scoring to 30 points this season, but will adopt the guidelines next fall.

In Virginia, the proposed changes will be discussed at the semiannual Virginia High School League general membership meeting on March 14, assistant director Joyce Sisson said. Volleyball coaches in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association will vote on the rule changes in late spring, according to assistant director of athletics Patricia Briscoe.

Landon Taps Phillips

Neil Phillips has been named the new athletic director at Landon School, Headmaster Damon Bradley said.

Phillips -- a 1985 graduate of Landon, where he was a standout three-sport athlete -- will arrive at the school in early April, work with acting athletic director Hans Farnstrom during the spring and officially take over on July 1. Farnstrom has served as interim director since longtime football coach and athletic director Lowell Davis was reassigned by the school last year.

Phillips will also teach English at the school.

Special correspondents Dan Steinberg and Jake Schaller contributed to this report.